The Differences, Pros and Cons Between Waterfall and Agile Methodologies (2023)

The Differences, Pros and Cons Between Waterfall and Agile Methodologies (1)

At the beginning of any software development project, managers think of which methodology is between waterfall and agile. It’s essential to follow clearly defined processes or software development life cycle (SDLC) to ensure software development quality. Software outsourcing services company states that there are two major development methodologies regarding waterfall and agile.

Software development teams apply methodologies to software development and project management. The article will help you define the difference between waterfall and agile to know which one is better for your project.

Software project managers deal with long product development cycles and keep changing priorities that disrupt the custom software development process. As a result, a finished software product doesn’t meet customers’ requirements and expectations.

Traditional project management methodologies don’t support software development teams much in adapting to the changes. It often makes testing stages of products or changing other alternatives impossible. Thus, an agile software development methodology is considered an ideal solution, especially for projects with various changes.

Both the agile and waterfall methodologies feature their sets of advantages and disadvantages. In general, two methodologies can be beneficial to a software development team. Choosing which method is dependent on the project scale, type, and software outsourcing services company’s resources.

A report shows that fewer than one in five professionals stated that their company used waterfall. Meanwhile, 81% of them used the agile methodology. Research of HP found that 54% of agile users said that they use agile over waterfall since it enhances collaboration and teamwork.

While the agile software development methodologies have many advantages, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Therefore, people often combine traditional waterfall and agile methods. These waterfall and agile hybrid solutions enhance some level of planning and structure while reaping the advantages of an iterative, flexible, collaborative method. The waterfall and agile hybrid is a compromise with many pros and cons. Thus, it’s considered an ideal approach for adopting the waterfall and agile methodologies.

1. Waterfall and agile methodology

  • Waterfall methodology

Based on a sequential approach, software development teams will break the waterfall methodology into seven phases. Each line of phase follows the other and needs finishing one by one. It means that we can’t start the second phase until finishing the first one.

In a savvy-tech world, speed enhances the cost of stability, organization, and frameworks. Software outsourcing services use the waterfall methodology for the custom software development project. Waterfall project management is ideal for consistent and reliable results on software development projects or systems that don’t need rapid changes. Agile is a huge advantage to innovative changes and burst thinking. Furthermore, if you don’t need agility, Agile is not for your custom software development project. The project managers will know their teams, testers, developers, and resources.

Due to the covid-19 outbreak, remote work becomes normal. Thus, a waterfall adds value to the structure of software development when a project manager requires it. It’s essential for custom software development teams working on various aspects of a system. If a person wants to finish her work before another starts, the waterfall methodology can handle it.

  • Agile methodology

While the waterfall approach values planning, the agile methodology values adaptability and involvement. This agile software development methodology has two core components regarding teamwork and time. Agile breaks project down into deliverable pieces instead of creating a timeline for a big software development project. People consider the time-boxed as sprints. Once developers complete a sprint, they will collect feedback from the last phase and plan for the next phase.

2. Waterfall and agile project management

  • Waterfall project management

Different phases of the waterfall methodology might include in the project management:

1. Conception is an ideal stage when developers define what and why they want to design.

2. Initiation & Analysis: The stage gathers and documents what the custom software development project needs, for example, system requirements for the software product.

3. Design: Developers determine which part of software needs working now and which needs coding.

4. Construction & Coding: It involves coding each unit of the software and testing it along with the way and integrating units. It will follow the software architecture from the design phase.

5. Testing is a stage that tests the software system-wide. It might include user testing, bug testing, and going back through to fix problems.

6. Implementation: It will deliver the finished software product to customers or roll out the system-wide software.

  • Agile project management

Here are fundamental principles of agile software development methodology that the custom software development team will follow.

1. Adaptability: The agile approach highlights the changes in design, architecture, requirements, and deliverables in the custom software development project.

2. Customer involvement: Due to constant changes in design and architecture units, agile software development requires the collaboration of customers and the development teams.

3. Lean development: Between waterfall and agile, agile makes finished products as simple as possible. If the software development team achieves completed products through two steps rather than five steps, agile designs the software product accordingly.

4. Teamwork: In the principles of waterfall and agile, agile methodology values teamwork almost above all. Teams will assess how they work effectively and flexibly adjust the agile project. For example, Extreme Programming helps developers work efficiently in pairs on principle since two heads are better than one.

5. Time management: Agile manages project time, allowing developers to break projects into smaller periods.

6. Sustainable development: Between waterfall and agile methodology, agile places value on a sustainable pace for software development products. Thus, there is no pushing faster deadlines in exchange for an uncompleted project anymore.

7. Testing: There is a small difference in the testing stage between waterfall and agile methodology. Software developers carry out testing phases in every phase of the project rather than waterfall approaches.

Waterfall software development method

  1. Pros of waterfall software development

Owing to the rising popularity of agile, waterfall is considered a bad or out-of-date methodology. Waterfall excels at lots of aspects such as framework, documentation, shared load, etc.

  • Framework: It sets a clear understanding of the timeline and deliverables before starting the project. The custom software development team and customers will define the scope of the project.
  • Documentation: Software developers document each phase of the process to eliminate misunderstandings.
  • Shared load: It doesn’t take all time and attention to the custom software development project. Depending on the phase, team members concentrate on different aspects.
  • Hands-off method: The waterfall approach allows a hands-off approach from customers. When people set an initial design and project plan, there is a requirement until the review session.

2. Cons of waterfall approach

  • Less the involvement of customers: The hands-off approach is not always ideal for every software product. Some customers want to involve more in the project proceeds. If there isn’t a framework allowing customers’ involvement, the waterfall leads to frustration for end-users.
  • Difficult to change: The waterfall allows people to follow clear steps and set a timeframe. Once these components are in place, it is hard to make changes when the development team encounters a deadline. Adaptability is an essential part of the custom software development process since it’s difficult for clients to have a full grasp before it starts.
  • Last-minute testing session: Between waterfall and agile, there is no time-bound, which is one of the drawbacks of the waterfall method. Although the waterfall approach can benefit software development projects, there is no project starting to run behind the schedule. For example, the first 90% of the code accounts for the first 90% of development time. The 10% left of the code makes for the other 90% of the development time. Thus, the final testing session will get rushed, leading to buggy code.

Agile software development methodology

  1. Pros of agile software development

The agile software development methodology benefits custom software development projects to enhance customer satisfaction and the projects’ results.

  • Stakeholders involvement: This approach boosts continuous engagement between the development and the customer.
  • Flexible deliverables: Agile methodology allows stakeholders to set deliverables owing to its hierarchy of importance. If a customer releases the fundamental software products before the full suite, this is exactly what agile software development methodology can do.
  • Easy to adapt: Adaptability is one of the most important elements of agile development. It also brings a huge benefit to custom software development projects. Some software outsourcing services help customers transform their ideas of what they need in a software product. Then the software development team can adapt scheduled sprints accordingly.
  • User-friendly software product with high quality: As customers give feedback after each sprint, the software development team uses the agile methodology. It will lead to a user-friendly software product.

2. Cons of the agile software development method

Like other approaches to software development, the agile method has drawbacks for implementing the software products. Software outsourcing services might consider the challenges of agile software development to improve the software development project.

  • Commitment: Between waterfall and agile methodology, agile works well when the whole custom software development commits to the project. It is challenging for software outsourcing services companies to have a lot going on at once and for developers.
  • Requiring high cost and longer time: Though time-boxed sprints allow for scheduling, people may not finish some deliverables on time. Furthermore, creating additional sprints might require higher costs.
  • Communication: As agile requires a high level of collaboration, the custom software development teams need to communicate with each other.

Executing agile-waterfall hybrid allows custom software development teams to work with agile. Meanwhile, hardware teams and the product manager use a waterfall approach for overarching projects. This waterfall and agile hybrid method involve concrete integration and continuous collaboration between waterfall and agile methodologies. Besides, the waterfall and agile hybrid also enable efficient collaboration and better adaptations to changes.

Furthermore, the waterfall and agile hybrid model supports product line management and reuses code when having similar product features. Quick turnaround and the efficient reuse of code and similar processes are essential. Backlog management is an essential part of the successful adoption of the waterfall and agile hybrid. It helps increase the importance of adequate software versions and carry out planning methods.

When combining the waterfall and agile methodology, both must compromise. Waterfall development cuts down some of the fixed expectations for the flexibility of the agile method. The agile must be creative but with less freedom. It leads to working against a fixed deadline with cost predictions and risks.

Real-world examples of waterfall and agile

Let us see how waterfall and agile methodology works in real-life contexts. Here are real-world examples of how companies deal with these methodologies:

- Avoiding agilefall: If there is no clear methodology set in the first place, it is easy to fall into the agilefall. The agilefall combines agile workflows with waterfall techniques, which leads to delays and inefficient workflows. Possible solutions for agilefall might include client involvement in the process more regularly, communication and feedback, etc.

- Agile + Feedback: Providing effective feedback makes many software outsourcing services take an agile approach to their software development product. Agile software development methodologies emphasize the importance of regular and continuous feedback. The feedback supports the workflows of the software development team through phone calls, collaboration tools, conferences, and surveys. Besides, qualitative feedback helps development teams with the authenticity to overcome other competitors in this market.

- Agile methodology cuts down costs: About 71% of software outsourcing services companies and software development firms choose agile over a waterfall (Research by CollabNet VersionOne). It helps reduce cost when software outsourcing services use the agile methodology. Nevertheless, the waterfall approach requires customer sign-off before the software development process starts whereas the agile doesn’t.

- User feedback is important: agile mitigates some of the risks by receiving feedback early in the custom software development process. It improves the software products before putting too much effort, money, or time into these processes. Thus, many software outsourcing services apply the agile approach over a waterfall.

- The time waterfall works: Many software outsourcing services or software development companies use the agile methodology for its cost-savings. However, some experts advise small firms and startups that the waterfall method might be an ideal choice in terms of finance.

Choosing the software development methodology depends on the scope and resources needed in each project. There are some differences between waterfall and agile methods in terms of methodology and project management. The waterfall is a traditional method that tasks need to be completed before moving to the next phase. However, agile is an incremental approach to software development based on people, results, collaboration, and flexibility to change. The article has just given you necessary information about waterfall and agile and how we see the differences between waterfall and agile methodology.

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